Friday, 28 May 2010

In The News

Just had this article published in my workplace bulletin. If you have come to the site after reading it...welcome. If you know someone with an interest in Marfan Syndrome I would be very grateful if you could tell them about my site.

If you would like to sponsor me the easiest way will be via the money giving link on the left. It is not currently operational but should be soon I am promised. All the money I raise is going to the Marfan Trust and every single penny is very welcome. 

I will be 'tweeting' about my trip as I go so if you want to follow me click on my twitter feed. I will also make the twitter gadget larger and centre page on the blog for the duration of the trip so it can be read here easily too.

As the route passes near Manchester, if anyone want to join me for a section please drop me an email. I will be leaving Whaley Bridge on 04 July and intend to finish somewhere between Hebden Bridge and Colne that day. Lovely countryside if a rather hilly section. 

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Mountain Magic

Atop Rivington
I am the orange one and my brother is the pink one!
I organised some mountain bike vouchers from all the family for my brother's birthday July 2009. He still hadn't used them up to April 2010 which is just like my brother. As I was quite keen to enhance my somewhat basic off road skills I suggested I join him for the course and so we arranged a day.

The vouchers were for Mountain Bike Skills which operate out of Rivington, The Lake District and The Yorkshire Dales. As we live near Rivington it seemed the obvious location to go for but what was less obvious was the course to choose. Did we class ourselves as beginners or intermediates? A phone conversation with Mike Stafford from the school pointed us towards the beginners course and so one sunny day last month we found ourselves meeting up with Mike at the Rivington Great Barn car park for a briefing before 5-6 hrs of skill development.

The day was very, very good. Despite there being 6 advertised places on the course, Mike had actually scheduled the day to fit with us as short notice and so we were the only two attendees. We practised bunny hopping, low speed turns, how to cycle down a steep hill and back up a steep hill before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we cycled up the big hill, practised descending some 70-100cm drop offs as well as riding some single track. My brother was certainly more able than I with the drops off (he is a mad keen skier) and so later I took the fast gravel track from the top while he and Mike took the more technical route before we all met up for a fast and very enjoyable downhill back to the car park. 

I was happy with my performance and definitely learned a few things. I am certainly going to be getting off road when I can (more after the Pennine Cycleway ride) and may even go for an intermediate course next year. For the day I'd hired a Marin Rocky Ridge from Mike and loved it. It is obviously head and shoulders above my old Marin Bear Valley and so now I am on the lookout for a good second hand one. Just don't tell my wife I am getting another bike!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Unexpected Charity

I will be getting the train to Derby for the start of the Pennine Cycleway ride on 03 July and so will commence cycling about 11.00 hrs. As I want to finish the whole ride by Friday 09 July I need to complete an average of 50 miles per day and I have worked out where I will roughly end each day and checked out accommodation in the area. No real problems except the first day as I end in Whaley Bridge and have not been able to find a local campsite. I emailed a B&B in the area - Spire House - to see if I might be able to throw a tent up in their garden (and pay for the pitch of course). This is their reply:
Dear Darrell
We do have a large garden but it is not very suitable for a tent. We would however be prepared to give you a free night bed and breakfast and packed lunch in support of your charity. Let me know if this would be of help and not affect your challenge. If you want to take up the offer let me know as soon as possible because we get booked up very quickly and have only one room left for July 3rd.
Hope this helps.
Hilary Lomax
Needless to say I have taken Hilary up on her kind offer and will be giving the money I would have spent on a pitch and lunch to the Marfan Trust instead. Thanks ever so much Hilary for you generous act. It's great to find how charitable complete strangers can be and it's one of the lovely things about doing this sponsored ride

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Destination Foulridge

Went for a training ride with full touring kit the other day. Didn't quite manage the 40 miles as I'd hoped because the route took me to a relatives house where I stopped for tea and cakes and met the wife and child for the return car journey.

Some of the ride was very steep and I did have to get off and push a couple of sections between Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall which obviously brought the average speed down a bit. Still, although I was passed by some roadies going up the hill towards Blackstone Edge they didn't open up a huge gap and I was happy with the progress I was able to make.  

The bike feels great and just as importantly I felt fine at the end as well. I could easily have managed another 15-20 miles that day and have stopped with loads of time to make camp. The next day didn't bring any aches and pains either. All bodes well for 03 July!

Total distance 36 miles

Total height gained 3269 feet

Average speed 10.2 mph